Monthly Archives: April 2010

Sydney Comedy Festival

The Sydney Comedy Festival is running in Sydney for three weeks and it is on… NOW!

From the 19th April – 9th May you can see some of the best that the World has to offer- right in the heart of Sydney.

The acts are all listed here, with still plenty more to go:

http://www.sydneycomedyfest.com.au/indexphpoptioncomeventlistavieweventlist

Mitch Fatel

I was so lucky to get the heads up from my friend who is working on the PR for the event. She arranged for me to go to Mitch Fatel and Jeremy Hotz last week. I had a blast laughing away with my friends. I can’t say Hotz was my favourite ever comedian but I certainly laughed a lot.

I also got to go and see my good friend Michael Hing perform on Thursday night at the Parade Theatre in Randwick. His show “The Illustrious Physicians of Love” also starring Magee was HILARIOUS! It was so quirky, fun and outrageous that they had me laughing right through the show.

It’s great to get out and have a laugh with friends and also get a chance to see some of Sydney’s great Venues like the NIDA Parade Theatre, the Virgin Metro Theatre and The Comedy Store at Moore Park.

Book tickets asap and laugh yourself  silly.


Top 5 Countries I miss the MOST

There is a time for travel, and there is a time to work . The time now is work time.

Don’t get me wrong! I love living in Sydney and being here with friends and family and exploring my city. But there are also some countries that are in my heart that I miss terribly throughout the year and CANNOT WAIT to get back to.

1. INDIA

India has not just been a place I have visited. It is  a country that now rests in my heart. I can honestly say I think about it every day and I’m just so excited that I get to go back again in December this year. To taste the curries, to party in Goa and to laugh again with the wonderul, warm and kind people of the country.

Sunset in Goa

2. MEXICO

Mexico, tu eres en mi corazon. This is very wrong. haha This in literal translation says Mexico you are in my heart, but they don’t say it like that. Mexico is fun, vibrant, interesting, complicated and diverse. It’s rich in culture and extremly proud of it’s heritage. The people are fantastic and I really felt at home when I lived there. Quiero ir a Mexico pronto. I want to visit Mexico soon.

3. ENGLAND

England will always be my second home as my family lives there. I feel a strog sense of self when there and can really relate to the country. I love the history of the country as it is so much older than my baby country Australia. Whenever I hear a pommy accent, my heart instantly melts and I become nostalgic and longing. Ello ello ello!

4. GERMANY

Ich liebe Deutschland. I visited Germany in 2006 for the first time and subsequently reuturned twice more in the one year. I was lucky to have good friends spread out in many cities in Germany but I really found the people I met there to be so friendly. The food is amazing and I crave it constantly. It’s carb heaven! Prestzels, Knudle, Liebkuchen, Stollen, Magenbrot, Weiss wurst and the best breads you have ever tasted. Oh and of course, BEER!

5. USA

I know this may seem like a funny one to add as some people think that the USA is a lot like Australia, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Our cultures are completely different, as are the histories, the diversity of people and the food. I must admit, I don’t miss the kilos that I piled on there whilst eating the junk food. But I do miss the interesting and surprising places that I visited. USA is HUGE and there is so much more I need to see! Also, one of my favourite people in the world, my Cuz Bill lives there!

So my Top 5. I hope to get back to all of them this year.. but we have to wait and see!


Tips from Guatemala – Miguel from Mexico

My dear friend Miguel from Mexico is currently travelling in North and Central America on Business. He has written some tips and interesting facts about Guatemala! Also he has shown an interesting contrast between Mexican and Guatemalan way of life.

http://ewb.students.mtu.edu/guatemala/guatemala.gif

FROM MIHU:
This message is not about my experience so far but what happened in Guatemala and some things that I can share with you that I found interesting and unique in this country.
Note for my English speaking friends: Some words and phrases are in Spanish so sorry if you don’t get those points.

• When you ask someone for something they reply “Que manda?”, in Mexico we usually say “mande”.
• In the bank were I worked they used open software such as open office and thundbird for handling their email accounts. It might sound pretty cool since they are saving money because of that but it’s a pain in the ass since what you can do compared to Excel is limited.
• The banks in Guatemala didn’t get that affected because of the financial crisis. Most of the banks have an old business model (basically saving and lending money, no future contracts, derivatives, etc). They only got affected because the big international banks cut their credit lines so it was harder for them to lend money to local companies.
• In Monterrey people go to McAllen, Texas to buy clothes, computers, etc because it’s cheaper to buy there than in Mexico. Guatemalans go to Tapachula, Chiapas. (in Mexico)


• There is a thing called “boleto de ornato” (ornate ticket) which is a tax that you have to pay in order to get your license and pay taxes. This tax is used to mantain public areas. I think this is a good idea since the local government doesn’t have to pay for the maintenance and they can focus that budget to other areas. Oh yeah, you can buy this “boleto de ornato” pretty much everywhere, the bank had a bunch of them.
• They have “tenencia” too. Tenencia is a tax where the Mexican and Guatemalan governments charge you for having a car.
• Only 30% of the population have bank accounts and/or credit/debit cards. This shows you how young is this market but how much room of improvement you have.
• Regarding the last figure I told you, most of the banks used to be niche banks (either they only operated with an specific economic sector, like coffee, or only to companies or people).
• They have their own fast food chain, it’s called “pollo campero” which is like the local KFC. It’s pretty cheap and the food is good. They have free wifi and in the same restaurant you had the common counter where you can order to-go or they have a huge salon where you can order and eat there.
• They say “nitido” (sharp) instead of “cool”.
• Pepsi is the most drinked beverage. You can’t practically see Coca Cola ads, it’s one of the few markets where Pepsi is the number 1 soda.
• Guatemala produces one of the best rums in the world, it’s called Zacapa and you drink it only with ice. I thought it was crazy since rum is know to be produced in the Caribbean and Guatemala produces one of the best rums. Crazy

http://www.notempire.com/images/uploads/Zacapa-drinkhacker-2.jpg

• If you go to Antigua you have to check out Antigua. It’s like the Latin American Pompey, the attractive of the city comes from the tragedies that have happened over there. 2 earthquakes destroyed the city and they have rebuilt part of it but most of the churches are semi-destroyed. Check out the pics that I uploaded.
• The cuisine is pretty similar to the Mexican cuisine. I found interesting and crazy a dessert which is bananas with mole (chilli chocolate like sauce), that’s is wack.
• There is a huge crime rate. Most of the people told you that they were talking on their cellphone and someone ran and took it. They told me that, supposedly, gangs were charging bus drivers some amount of money so they could keep their route, those who refused where murdered while working. The modus operandi was that a bike with two people would approach them and shoot. Several bus drivers were murdered with a few passengers. Recently the government prohibited that two people could ride a bike at the same time and that bike drivers had to wear a vest and a helmet with their plates number on them.
• In the bank’s entry there were lockers so you could leave your gun, I uploaded a pic of it.
• People told me not to take street taxis so I had to call to the “yellow cab” company. They are a pain in the ass since they over charge you and you have to be on time when they arrive. Sometimes you have to wait over one hour to get a cab.
• Oh yeah, the Starbucks coffee that you drink is Guatemalan but there are no Starbucks in Guatemala.
• Zona 10 is the clubs zone. These clubs are like bars and in that zone you can find the bar that best fits you. There are no cover.
• In Guatemala you feel like if you are still in Mexico. The main avenue it’s called Reforma (like in Mexico City), they have TV Azteca Guatemala, Banco Azteca, Mabe, Televisa, Bimbo, etc etc. Actually, most of Guatemalan know several things about Mexico and the Mexican soccer league.
• La Academia is HUGE. Oh yeah, a lot of people support Puebla because their best player, Pescadito Ruiz, plays for that Mexican team.

http://www.destination360.com/central-america/guatemala/images/s/antigua-guatemala.jpg

I think those were the most important things. Hopefully these things are interesting enough. At the moment I’m in Mexico City’s airport waiting for my flight (which is delayed for an hour). I am going to Dominican Republic to the chocolate factory where I had my first assignment. I will be in charge of the project because of “my excellent performance” (yeah sure) so let’s see how it turns.
Anyway, more from me soon

Miguel

———————

Looking forward to reading more of Miguels wonderful adventures in Central America as he travels for business.


Travel to KOREA with Juno

This week we have JUNO from Korea. I met Juno through her wonderful posts on her blog and her twittering! Now we share tips on travel.

Read about Juno’s experiences in her home country of Korea and check out her blog for great travel advice www.runawayjuno.com.

  1. Name

Jiyeon Juno Kim (just Juno is fine)

2. Occupation

Mechanical Engineer.

3.Country of Residence

Seoul, Rep. of Korea for now

4. Country of Origin

Rep. of Korea

  1. email/contact/ website

runawayjuno@runawayjuno.com /

twitter.com/RunawayJuno /

www.runawayjuno.com

5. Why do you love Travel?

It gives me un-describable thrill. Nothing gives me this much of thrill. Photography is one of my biggest passions in my life, so travelling and photography make perfect sense for me. The greatest thing of travel is meeting people. Wherever you go, you meet fellow travellers. Even though you came from totally different world, it’s so amazing that you can talk to each other with same values. This is what gives me a thrill during travelling. I’ve met so many great people on the road and planning to do so for a long time.

6. Favourite place in your home country and why?

Seoul. Because it is my hometown J  and has a lot of excitement.

7. Best place for tourists to visit in your country?

Seoul. Definitely.

East coast to beautiful nature (beaches and mountains)

Jeju island.

8. What other country would you life in if you had to leave your country?

Too many great places I want to live but I have to say NewZealand at this point. Because it is the best I’ve ever been so far.

9. Best travelling experience anecdote in your own country?

I went to Jin-do (Jin-island) at very south of Korea. It is really small Island so not many people live nor know. It was a middle of summer. Even though I love beach in summer time, I don’t like to be in crowd so I never go. But that time in Jin-do, I went on a beach and there were 5 people in the water! Water was cristal clean, beautiful sunshine, just so peaceful. I can here little child giggling with the sound of wave. It was magical moment. Some place should remain just like that.

10. Favourite activity when around your city?

Among many excitements in Seoul, I watch many great musicals, go to special festivals (like St.Patrick’s day festival yesterday) and visit sub-urban city around Seoul by subway.

11. Do you feel you know your country well, or is more exploring of your homeland needed?

I travel lots of place in Korea, but Korea still does have more things to see for sure. I think, it will never end J

12. Any warnings for travellers visiting in your country?

We are very secured country. If you are worrying about security issues.

Although I recoment learn few Koreans before your visit. Actually many Koreans can speak English well but just in case. J

Additionally we have a lot of spicy food so smell or ask before you eat. J Ouch in your mouth!

13. The best book to read before visiting your country?

It is very hard beacause not many of our books translate to English. I will let you know this too with the answer of No.14 J

14. The must eat dish or delicacy of your country?

Actually I had article about this in my blog. Here’s a link!

http://su.pr/1s8Cdn

15. The top three sayings to make travellers stay in your country easier? E.g. How much? Too expensive or Hello.

Hello : An nyung ha se yo.

Thank you : Gam sa hap ni da.

I can’t speak Korean : Han guk mal, mot hae yo.

16. Best time of year to visit?

We do have clear 4 seasons. All seasons are great, but if you insist I choose spring and autumn. All the flowers and new born trees in spring and flame color maple trees in the mountain. It could blow your mind.

17. The 4 words that best describe your country:

Country of rising sun.


Notes from India

Here are some notes from a Tour Guide I met in Jaipur, Dear Vijay.

As I am traveling with some very important group whom I was recmmended by some of my fellow travellers friends.
The tour is through some of the best places and hotels of India.
The city of Maysore, Ooty , and on the way we pass through the some of the famous Tiger century of South called Bandipur and mundamaly .

Infact we were able to see some elephants family it was so great , I was excited to share with you.
This place Ooty had great past of Maharajas and British Lords and their polo,parties and hunting.
The Hotel we are staying Saway is great.
The Colours women use in sarees and silk is also Great really liked by western people.


Tomorrow going to 100 years old toy train.and than to Cochin the ancient trading city of Trade Route to India by sea.
Greetings Vijay

Contact Vijay to arrange tours in North India:

Vijay
(V.V. Singh)
INDIA
+91 98290 64199
Email: vvsingh1_99@yahoo.com

For bookings and more information:

http://www.jaipur.org.uk


Experiencing Australia

I asked my new pal Court Tallon of the USA to write a guest blog about her experience in Australia so far. She has been here a month or so and I wanted to see what she thought so far. Court and I met through http://www.explorergirls.com through our shared love of Travel and Adventure

Take Courts advice, come to OZ!

I’ve wanted to visit Australia for as long as I can remember. As a member of my hometown beach patrol, I’ve been enticed by stories, photographs, and personalities from the Land Down Under for the better part of a decade. I dreamed of the day I’d enjoy blue waters, cold beers, and fresh fruit.

I could see myself munching on some toast spread with Vegemite while listening to Midnight Oil and watching out for Mad Max, Steve Irwin, crocs, ‘roos, and spiders.

I’ve been in Sydney for just over a month and have done… pretty much all of those things. The activities and imagery for which Australia is stereotypically known are possibly the best in the world: great sport, great beaches, incredible cultural, ecological, and biological diversity, fantastic Thai food and friendly, sun-kissed, happy people.

But, as a student of history and as a citizen of the United States, I know that stereotypes can be a dangerous and hateful business. I won’t lie: I’ve enjoyed indulging in my share of shallow engagements with the continent; but, I’m here to study and study I have- from parliament to cricket, soap operas to coastal walks, wine tasting to goon tasting, surf comps, Chinatown, the Rocks, the Eastern Suburbs, and open markets. Australian (and let me qualify here: urban, eastern, coastal Australian) culture is as engaging and entertaining as I had hoped.

When I stepped off the plane at SYD, I was greeted by the usual scents of an international airport- cleaning product, coffee, air conditioning, etc.- but Sydney offered something more… a hint of sunscreen.

Instead of a German Sheppard, I was greeted by a Beagle and instead of walking out into a blizzard, I walked into 80-degree, err… 26-degree weather. That first scent of coconut anti-aging skin product had me hooked on this country. I love the coastal baths. I love the enormous spiders. I love the headlands, the water, the trees, the birds, and the free-to-air television. I love the politics, the history, the people, and the art.

I scored a three-day school week and met up with some Explorer Girls- Emma and Krystle and I joined the Outdoors Club at UNSW. My flat mates and I have battled three species of cockroaches. This has been a proper Sydney visit.

Since my arrival, I have certainly had a somewhat structured experience- there are limitations, social and otherwise, being a study abroad student from the US. Not a typical traveler, I have several novels to read, plenty of papers to write, and whole new government system to learn- I have homework.

I’m trying my best to become fully immersed, but there’s really only so much you can do in four months with limited cash and lots of lectures to attend. This trip is really just a foot in the door for me.

I can’t wait to come back!


Dreaming of India

You know it’s time to dust off the travelling shoes and start planning the next trip when your favourite destination is popping up in your dreams.

The other night I was dreaming about being in India with my Indian family. In their home, in my Indian sisters room. Laughing together. Enjoying the sites and taking in the sounds. I really felt as if I was there! The best part, My mum was there too! She got to experience the country I love so much.

India is a country that engulfs you. You don’t see things in India, you feel them. You don’t smell the flowers, your senses are awoken. It really is a place that once experienced, never leaves you.

I cannot speak more highly of this incredibly diverse country and I cannot wait to get back there.

Some of my favourite things, that I truly miss right now:

  • Sailing in Bombay in front of the magnificent Taj Mahal
  • Tasting the sweetness of Gulab jamun
  • Laughing with the people
  • Thanking the people for their kindness, Dhan ya vad
  • Cooling off with a Kulfi
  • Sampling the spices of Goa
  • Roaming the grounds of the Taj Mahal
  • Late night Butter Chicken Roti Roll
  • Dancing Bangra style at the Sangeet
  • Smiling, laughing and crying tears of Joy!
  • Wearing a Sari and feeling like a queen
  • Eating amazing Lobster Curry at Apoorva
  • Viewing Jaipur from the Amber Fort
  • Patting an Elephant in the Streets of Agra
  • Watching the Sunset over the Gateway of India, Mumbai

So check it out:

Incredible India

http://www.incredibleindia.org/index.html


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